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Game #31: Doubleheader split! A’s win second game 4-1

Adrian Martinez brilliant in MLB debut

Oakland Athletics v Detroit Tigers - Game Two
Adrian Martinez gets handshake of approval
Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

It’s a doubleheader split!

The Oakland A’s played two today against the Detroit Tigers, and after dropping the first game they bounced back to win the second installment 4-1 at Comerica Park.

*** Click here to revisit today’s Game Thread! ***

Tuesday began with a 6-0 loss in the opening matchup, and you can click here to read the full recap of that game. The lineup was shut out, the starting pitcher was knocked around, and the bullpen made things worse.

Everything went better the next time around. In the second game, the lineup scored some runs, the starting pitcher was fantastic, and the bullpen held the lead the rest of the way to seal the victory.

The story of the sequel game was starter Adrian Martinez, who was called up to make his MLB debut this afternoon. The right-hander tossed scoreless ball into the 6th inning, scattering a few runners but never letting the Tigers reach third base.

  • Martinez: 5⅓ ip, 0 runs, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 4 hits, 79 pitches

The underlying stats backed up his success, with barely any hard contact, no walks (though one HBP), and 11 swinging strikes representing 14% of all his pitches and 25% of the swings against him. He was simply great, albeit against the worst and coldest lineup in the majors.

While Martinez was spinning zeroes, the A’s offense was getting its job done, using hustle and small-ball to spark a struggling attack. Sheldon Neuse led off the 4th inning with a single, then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error, finally coming around to score on a Jed Lowrie sac fly. They went on to build a new rally later in the frame, culminating in a Kevin Smith RBI single.

They kept adding in the 7th, as Smith singled, stole second, and scored on a Cristian Pache RBI single. In the 9th, Ramon Laureano singled, Smith bunted him over, he moved to third on a wild pitch, and Luis Barrera knocked him in with a sac fly.

No dingers necessary, just aggressive baserunning and smart situational hitting. Two of the runs resulted from simply a single and then some productive outs, not even a hit with runners in scoring position. They only hit the ball hard six times, but they squeezed four runs out of it.

With the lead in hand, Oakland just needed the bullpen to come through for a few innings. Zach Jackson breezed through five outs to wrap up the 7th inning, and Domingo Acevedo took care of the 8th. Lou Trivino made things interesting in the 9th, loading the bases with one out and eventually walking in a run to break the shutout, but with the potential go-ahead run in the batter’s box he induced a popout to end it.

Naturally, the A’s defense chipped in too. Second baseman Tony Kemp made a Superman leap to grab this liner in the 8th inning, in support of Acevedo.

Even Kemp couldn’t believe he caught it!

It was a full-squad victory, and it salvaged a split in today’s doubleheader. Add their win last night and Oakland has taken two outta three from Detroit over the past 25 hours, quite the turnaround coming off a nine-game losing streak.

Even better, this win was highlighted by some prospects. Martinez (from the Manaea trade) made a dazzling first impression on the mound, Smith (from the Chapman trade) contributed to three of the four runs, Pache (from the Olson trade) knocked in a run, and Barrera was quietly productive with a walk, steal, and sac fly.

That’s the dream during a rebuilding season. The new wave of youngsters showed some resilience and flashed their talent, bouncing back from a loss to finish the day on a high note. Who might step up tomorrow?